Kilauea: HVO Decreased Alert Level Today

USGS/Hawaiian Volcano Observatory caption for this image (full size image here), with emphasis added:

This wide-angle photo shows the fissure 8 cone (center of image) and the long line of steaming areas extending uprift (west), towards the upper right corner of the image. No significant change was observed at fissure 8 during today’s overflight. Thermal images (see inset lower left) show no signs of lava within the cone – the small collapse pit in the center of the crater floor is cold.


Per HVO today:

HVO/USGS Volcanic Activity Notice

Volcano: Kilauea (VNUM #332010)

Current Volcano Alert Level: ADVISORY
Previous Volcano Alert Level: WATCH

Current Aviation Color Code: YELLOW
Previous Aviation Color Code: ORANGE

Issued: Friday, October 5, 2018, 8:47 AM HST
Source: Hawaiian Volcano Observatory
Notice Number:
Location: N 19 deg 25 min W 155 deg 17 min
Elevation: 4091 ft (1247 m)
Area: Hawaii

Volcanic Activity Summary: It has been 30 days since lava has been active at the surface of Kīlauea Volcano. HVO monitoring shows low rates of seismicity, steady, relatively low rates of deformation across the volcano, and only minor gas emission at the summit and East Rift Zone (ERZ). These observations indicate that resumption of eruption or summit collapse is unlikely in the near-term.

Accordingly, HVO is lowering the Volcano Alert Level for ground based hazards from WATCH to ADVISORY. This means Continue reading


Hawaiian Volcanoes: The Big Island 5

Those of us outside Hawaii may be a little off in our perception of the ongoing eruption at Kilauea Volcano:

The image on the left makes sense to anyone who has heard that the Big Island sits on a geological hot spot where molten rock leaks out of Earth’s mantle, forming a series of shield volcanoes.

What we’re missing is the fact that two different local macrofeatures–this mantle hot spot and the Pacific Ocean crust underlying Hawaii–are in constant motion relative to each other. With magma constantly upwelling from below, the end result is less like a conveyor belt of “Hershey’s Kiss” volcanoes and more like what happens when you try to spoonfeed an infant for the first time.

This is how, over the last million years or so, a total of five volcanoes have piled up above the waves together (with some help from submarine volcanoes Mahukona and Loihi) to form the Big Island.

Continue reading

Another Kilauea Update

The Hawaiian Volcano Observatory/USGS just issued this; I think they mean that the overall deflation at Kilauea’s floor has been 3 feet, not that it dropped that much today. But it’s worth giving you a heads-up because the floor of Kilauea’s summit crater has collapsed before (there’s nobody in it, don’t worry) and it could again – there are some surprising parallels between this ongoing activity and what went on in 1924.

Anyway, here is the update. To follow this eruption in more detail, just click the link in the upper right corner of this page. And thank you for your interest!

U.S. Geological Survey
Wednesday, May 16, 2018, 2:35 PM HST (Thursday, May 17, 2018, 00:35 UTC)

19°25’16” N 155°17’13” W, Summit Elevation 4091 ft (1247 m)
Current Volcano Alert Level: WARNING
Current Aviation Color Code: RED


Strong earthquakes within the summit of Kīlauea Volcano continue in response to ongoing deflation and lava column drop. As of the afternoon of May 16, the floor of Kīlauea caldera has dropped approximately 3 feet (90 cm). This movement is stressing faults around the caldera of Kilauea, causing them to move and resulting in strong earthquakes of up to magnitude 4.4 thus far.

Employees at the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory, Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park and nearby residents are reporting frequent ground shaking and damage to roads and buildings. Hawaii County Police reports cracks across Highway 11 between mile markers 28 and 29. Although these are passable, motorists are urged to use caution.

As deflation continues, strong earthquakes in the area around Kilauea Volcano’s summit are expected to continue and may become more frequent. Areas further from these earthquakes may feel some ground motion as well, but much less severe.

The shallow depths of these earthquakes make them more damaging in the immediate vicinity of the epicenter, and individuals need to take precautions to minimize damage from the shaking, including the removal of unstable items from walls and shelves. Steep slopes should be avoided as they may become destabilized during strong earthquakes.

Featured image: USGS